Member Rara Avis
... how would I add a poetry section to it to make it a poetry/photography based system.
Essentially the same way you would add it to WordPress: with custom CSS. Exactly how you would implement the CSS would depend on the code.
Doing it in WordPress is typically a LOT easier than doing it in raw HTML. When you're coding the raw HTML, you'll have to add the necessary tags, i.e., div or p tags, every time you put in a new poem. You can and should simplify that with a poetry template, but it's still a lot of copying and pasting, which inevitably opens the door to increased human error.
With WordPress, however, there are tools built in that will simplify the job. At the lowest level, WP supports something called shortcodes which are a lot like the UBB Codes we use here in the forums. Unlike our forum codes, however, WP allows the webmaster to create their own custom shortcodes. So, with a little of under-the-hood work, you might end up with something like this:
[poemtitle]This is a centered title[/poemtitle]
Rose are red,
Violets are blue,
This is a verse
On my list of to-do
Something like that wouldn't be too hard to add to WordPress -- but it's still a lot of unnecessary work. And is still much too subject to human error as well.
A better solution would be to use WordPress's custom post option, which could create a form where every individual part of a poem (title, subtitle, byline, dedication, copyright, verses, etc) would have their own input field. Entering new poetry would be almost automatic. Unfortunately, custom posts require a fair bit of programming and database experience.
Wordpress already has pretty good gallery functionality built into it, and there a ton of plugins to increase that functionality. Lots and lots of people want to use WP for images, photography, and videos, so there's plenty of options available. Here's a fairly graphic WP site I'm working on right now for a friend: A Magical Day with Joshua Jay. It'll perhaps give you a little idea of what can be accomplished with WordPress.
FWIW, one of the things on my to-do list is a WordPress theme specifically for writers (not just poets, but nonetheless with a heavy emphasis on poetry). It would include the custom posts mentioned above, but would also include most of the functionality that's build into our main site, Passions in Poetry. That would include the ability for visitors to email the poetry, to create greeting cards using the poetry, to vote and comment, yada yada yada. Most of that code, after all, has already been written and in use for nigh onto fourteen years. If I thought there were enough people actually interested in a WordPress theme designed for writers I might be able to move that project up a few notches.
The best thing about WP is that it's incredibly well supported. Something like 1 out of every 5 web sites on the Internet is a WordPress Site. It literally has a million people developing themes and plugins for it. Most, like Wordpress itself, are free. If you want to do something with WP, chances are someone else out there has already thought the same thoughts.
If you do decide to go with WP, I would recommend bluehost as your hosting company. In part, that's because they help support the forums here with advertising; you'll find a banner at the top of most forum pages (not individual threads yet). Mostly, though, I recommend them (and use their advertising) because they do a pretty good job and they specialize in WordPress sites. The hardest part of using WordPress for many is initially setting it up; at bluehost, you can install and configure WP with just a couple of clicks. It can literally be a five-minute job.
Incidentally, James, using a local machine to design a web site is . . . problematic. When you go to a site on the Internet there are three main components working together to serve a web page: the operating system (predominately Linux on the Web), a web server (Apache for Linux or IIS for Microsoft), and your browser. When you develop locally you'll not have a web server available unless you install it (not for the faint of heart), which means you'll have very little functionality available for your web pages. It can be done, and in fact I did it for a long time, but it's a bit like crawling to the neighborhood store instead of walking (or running or driving). It's painful.
Hope that helps. I'll be happy to try to answer any specific questions if I can?